Plastics and chemicals supplier Eastman Chemical Company has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Sterling Chemicals Inc. for $100 million in cash. Among other plans, Eastman says it will modify and restart Sterling's idled plasticizer manufacturing facility to produce non-phthalate plasticizers. Phthalate plasticizers, used to soften PVC, have been under regulatory scrutiny after some research has shown certain ones may be hormone disruptors.
Sterling includes a single production site in Texas City, TX. For more than 30 years Eastman has had a non-phthalate plasticizer, Eastman 168, in its portfolio, and the company says it will use the Sterling site to increase its capacity of these. According to Eastman, total sales volume for non-phthalate plasticizers in North America and Europe is expected to increase at a compounded annual rate of about 7% over the next five years....